By: IfeanyiChukwu Afuba
A photo shot by Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano in casual wear with former Aviation Minister, Fani Kayode on a weekend at the Governor’s residence has left detractors falling over themselves on who pokes the most acerbic comment.
Bad faith is not amenable to reason. John the Baptist, the ascetic, was declared possessed. Christ the caregiver of lepers, converter of sinners, was derided as casting out demons by the power of evil spirits! What is at play is the mind of a man. What the mind is nurtured on determines it’s attitude to phenomena around it.
There are two categories of Obiano’s fashion critics. The first of the pack are the prisoners of social expectation and class convention. It was something close to a scandal for the independence era Umuofia when Obi Okonkwo returned from Europe wearing a simple shirt and trousers and not speaking big grammar. That was against their expectations of greatness.
Before the Rivers State Government later presented him with a car, novelist Gabriel Okara once told of how people called him fool for not stealing government money when he served as Commissioner. In their disordered values, it was anomalous, infra dig, embarrassing that a former Commissioner would be seen trekking along the streets.
Every individual, whether world leader or commoner, has his unique traits. There cannot be uniformity in dress sense. Britain’s war hero, Winston Churchill is “credited with popularising an unusual cross between a business suit and a workman’s coveralls.”
In 2015 Canadians elected Justin Trudeau Prime Minister knowing full well he had a tattoo of a raven on his left arm. Rev Fr Charles Ikeme, the first Catholic priest from Nimo was admired for his khaki shorts and blue shirt. Yet, some public places pride themselves on not admitting non – formally dressed persons.
The other band of critics are politically motivated. Anambra State is gradually drawing towards the 2021 governorship election. Obiano’s APGA remains the party to beat and no opportunity is to be missed discrediting Anambra’s best Governor since creation of the State and who happens to be the APGA leader.
Consider that Fani Kayode on the occasion of the aforementioned photo-taking extolled Governor Willie Obiano for his stellar achievements. “What Obiano has managed to achieve here is extraordinary. The tendency is for people not to remember what the situation was before development came.
I want to commend him for putting the State first.” And this coming from a PDP stalwart known for his bluntness. It is easy to see how this must have spoilt the party for the perennial Obiano bashers. In the circumstance, it would be irresistible for the detractors to try to drown out the eulogies by orchestrating the triviality of a light-hearted picture.
Nor can you downplay the angry noise from the quarters of the adversarial businessman and suspended traditional rulers.
The notion that a Governor has no private life borders on sophistry. What laws say so? Regulations on public office are intended to enable the occupants to perform satisfactorily, but not to deny them their humanity. It is hypocritical to say that a man cannot spend his weekend on casual wear because he is a Governor.
Party dress is not necessarily better than a sporting outfit. Pyjamas are not inferior to three-piece suit. Farm wear is no less clothing than office attire.
There is a time and setting for various wardrobe materials.